PowerLabs In The Media!

PowerLabs In the Media!

The purpose of this page is, and has always been, to share some of of my research with the scientific community that’s out there on the Internet.  And, to that effect, it has been quite successful with website traffic well over one million visitors to the front page alone.  That said, this page’s online popularity pales in comparison with the various science shows on television today, and I feel very fortunate to have been given the privilege to share some of my passion for science with various TV Networks’ audiences.  There is nothing better than seeing your hard work being recognized!

The internet has changed the world we live in for better or worse.  It has provided more connectivity between people all over the world. The share of information improves the quality of scientific learning that is conducted in various online forums.  One of PowerLabs’ goals is to assist in the sharing of scientific research available online.

Over the years PowerLabs’ website and its creator, Sam Barros, have been linked to from various websites, appeared on numerous science pages, magazines, newspapers, websites and TV shows.  Below is a listing of a few of the more recent/significant appearances that I have been made aware of.  I wholeheartedly welcome any publicity online and can be available for any kind of media work or interviews.

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Television: Discovery Channel:

April'04: Sam Barros on The Discovery Channel!

Discovery Channel “One Step Beyond”: This episode was filmed in August of 2005, and was about me and the work I’ve done with High Voltage and Electromagnetic Acceleration. It would have been a really neat showcase of the life I had back in College, I was filmed driving around town, some of my friends and my Girlfriend were interviewed, and we spent a lot of time in the lab doing everything from can crushing, to quarter shrinking, exploding a watermelon with 10,000 Volts, and firing the railgun.
 Unfortunately this show never aired. I’d love to see the footage some day 🙁


A crew came to my university in March 2003 to film my railgun research in my laboratory. The 8 minute show was aired in Canada, USA, South America and Europe, and it shows me performing a wide variety of magnetic and electromagnetic experiments, culminating with several slow motion clips of the coil gun and railgun firing. Well worth watching. BTW the “plasma boy” nickname was not my idea.

Television: Science Channel:

October 2008: Sam Barros on Sci-Fi Channel:


The episode first aired on October 26th, 2008 at 9PM Eastern / 8PM Pacific time and was filmed and produced by Workaholic Productions over the summer for Science Channel’s “Sci-Fi Science” series. It featured my first railgun 2.0 firings, as well as an all-new lightning gun produced by kVA Effects and seen pictured above (it was absolutely incredible). The Lightning gun was filmed in a studio in Los Angeles and the RailGun shots happened in my friend Aron’s lab in North Carolina.
For more information see: Sci Fi Science

Television: MTV:

February '03: Sam Barros and Slava Persion as Microwave Experts on MTV's "Big Urban Myth Show"

 Explaining what happens to metals in a microwave oven on MTV
 I was the microwave expert on MTV’s “Big Urban Myth Show”, which aired in February 2003. In the show my friend Slava and I talk about how microwave ovens work, and what happens when you put metals inside them. We got paid to blow an oven up and microwave things ordinary people wouldn’t even dream of taking near an oven. It was a great time and it turned out to be a great show, even though at under 2 minutes it was quite cut down from the nearly 5 hours we filmed in New York.
Click the picture or this link to watch the 14.8MB movie.

Sam jumps back as the oven explodes in a ball of fire. Click picture to watch video.MTV’s Big Urban Myth Show, Episode 102:
Bush busters, Superbowl flushers, microwave disasters, hooker hysteria, ten year-old Twinkies, and Keith’s bloody babble. The tongue twisters come untied in this episode of MTV’s Big Urban Myth Show.

Television: The Learning Channel (TLC) Junkard Wars:

January'04: Sam Barros on TLC's Junkyard Wars:


I also made a page about what it was like being on the show. The show originally aired on January 20th at 10PM. It aired multiple times after that.
Junkyard Wars was the second time I had ever been on Television… Filming the show was a 14-hour ordeal in a junkyard in the desert, under 104F weather, wearing fireproof overalls. It was hard work! Still, I really enjoyed being on the show.

Australian Television (Channel 9):

August 2005: Watch PowerLabs on your TV!


If you were in Australia, you got to see Channel 9’s “What’s Good For You” on Monday the 14th of August 2005, at 7.30 pm. Beyond Productions sent a film crew up to my “lab” and filmed a spectacular episode for the show. The episode was on microwaves and we had a BLAST… Literally!
You can watch the episode here.

Television: NBC:

I assisted in the design, construction and implementation of a 40 foot electrified maze stunt for NBC’s ” I assisted in the design, construction and implementation of a 40 foot electrified maze stunt for NBC’s “Fear Factor” TV show. The episode (#521) was filmed in Nov 2004 near Hollywood and aired on January 31st 2005. Highlights included meeting Joe Rogan, and watching various people (myself included) get shocked by a 10,000Volt electric fence charger!
You can see a short clip of it at the Fear Factor webpage.

Newspaper: USA TODAY:

November'02: USA Today

The following article was published on the nationally distributed paper USA Today, on November 11 2002. Again, lots of e-mail and website visits:

Edgy Experiments

Sure, your skin crawls when you accidentally microwave a metal-edged plate.  Fortunately, there are folks who have no problem recklessly experimenting with this and other high-voltage devices, and are only too happy to post their results online.  Read up on creating your own ball lightning, nuking CDs, and making your very own Quake railgun.

Magazine: Fortune Magazine:

October'04: I'm in Fortune magazine:October'04: I'm in Fortune magazine:

October 2004’s edition of Fortune magazine (out in Oct 14th) had a really interesting article on High Voltage enthusiasts that talks about me and my RailGun research.

Magazine: Electronics Weekly:

March'02: Electronics Weekly:


The following newspaper article appeared in the March 2002 issue of “Electronics Weekly”, an English publication. I became aware of it after the number of e-mails I received asking questions about projects on the page tripled.

 Click on the thumbnail to see the full size scan and read the article.

Local Media: Magazines, Newspapers and Television:
Online Traffic: Planet Weekly:

This was Published on Planet Weekly, an online Dutch newspaper. The Dutch e-mails I received as a result were good practice for my Dutch which I have not spoken since living in Holland between 1995 – 2000:

POWERLABS Sam Barros mag graag wat knutselen. Zijn laatste project is een ‘railgun’, een apparaat waarbij een projectiel door middel van electromagnetische krachten wordt weggeschoten. De condensators die hij gebruikt kunnen voorzichtige geschat een voorwerp van vijf gram wegschieten met een snelheid van meer dan twee keer de snelheid van het geluid. Andere hobbies van Sam zijn het zelf maken van TNT en het bouwen van Tesla-spoelen waarmee vonken van anderhalve meter lang kunnen worden opgewekt. Probeer dit niet thuis.

(My attempt at translating this (sorry, my Dutch is a bit rusty from not speaking it in 4 years. If someone could do a better job I’d appreciate it):
“POWERLABS: Sam Barros is a do-it-yourselfer: His latest project is a “railgun”; a device that fires a projectile electromagnetically. The capacitors he is using accelerate a 5 gram projectile to a speed of over two times that of sound. Other hobbies Sam has are making TNT by himself and building Tesla Coils capable of making sparks over half a meter long. Do not try this at home.”


Online Traffic: ZZZOnline and Harocp:

This was published on ZZZOnline and Harocp, two big online news sites. It created a lot of online traffic and lots of curious e-mails:

Getting your ZZZ’s:

This week the fellas have the usual bizarre bazaar of all that is odd in the industry. I personally like the quasi-spud gun that uses 60% propane and 40% butane to get things going. Heh..whoa.

“..I chose to fire a tennis ball out of the barrel, as I didn’t believe a potato would sustain the forces I had in mind…”

Sam had seen those spud guns, and decided that he wanted to make one, but hair spray or compressed air just wouldn’t cut it. So he decided to build a gun that would use a 60% propane 40% butane mixture, and pure oxygen…

The article continues on for a few pages: it is a very good article, well worth reading! Check it out on the link above.

Online Traffic: Slashdot:

Shortly afterwards PowerLabs was featured on Slashdot, one of the largest online news sites for the Internet geek community. This created approximately 51,000 website visits within one day, and created unmanageable amounts of e-mail and online traffic (101gigabytes by the end of the month).

More Ways to Blow Things Up

Posted by michael on Friday January 31, @07:36PM
from the friday-special dept.
pitabutter writes “Since the /. crowd seems to appreciate the exciting combination of amateur chemistry and fearlessness (what is it about intelligence and the desire to blow things up?), Sam Barros’ site would be worth a look. Rail guns, high voltage, electromagnetic experiments-all there and with videos to boot. Unable to confirm if Sam still has appendages intact……..”

PowerLabs made Illuminated Site of the Week:

March 14, 2003: It’s Mostly In The Name Of Science

Illuminated Site of the Week: In this country, we’re less likely to hide weapons of mass destruction and more inclined to build up a website touting the fabulous power we carelessly hold at our fingertips. Visit Sam Barros’ PowerLabs and watch as he bends chemistry to his will and crushes full soda cans with nothing but a semiconductor. Make fun of him at your peril . . . he’s also building a rail gun.

PowerLabs featured on SlashDot again:

Posted by michael on Wednesday June 11, @03:38AM
from the young’s-modulus dept.
mbreitba writes “Sam Barros is at it again, Some may know him for his railgun research, and some may know him for his homemade cannons. But now he’s found a use for all those old CD’s you don’t need anymore. Personally, I couldn’t think of a better use for them.”

 Slashdot has its minuses though… This e-mail came in 2 days after PowerLabs was featured:

Dear Customer:

Our records indicate that your account is projected to exceed the 
allowance for your current Hostway plan. Please see below for 
information on this traffic overage.  For more details, you can review 
and monitor your traffic usage on a daily basis in SiteControl at 

Customer ID.................: xxx
Domain Name.................: power-labs.com
Period Covering.............: 2003-6-1 to 2003-6-14

Plan Type...................: Platinum Plan
Allowed Traffic.............: 15000 MB
Projected Monthly Traffic...: 1069532 MB

Projected Traffic Overage charges.....: $10545

*Current rate for traffic overage: $10/GB

Praise (and constructive criticism) is of course always welcome. I am always very willing to answer questions and grant interviews, and nothing pleases me more than seeing my hard work gain publicity so that I can share my ideas and research with as many people as possible!

Would you like to feature PowerLabs in an article of your own? Interview the creator? Mail me!